Letters - January 24, 2017

TRANSPORTChoppers now have to stick to flight pathSince Jet2 left Blackpool airport and air activities dwindled, we have constantly been plagued with the random approach and take off routes that Bond Helicopters choose to adopt, despite there being a designated flight path and even a no-build zone under this flight path for new development on the Pontins site.

Tuesday, 24th January 2017, 12:56 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th January 2017, 1:02 pm
A superpuma helicopter as operated by Helispeed who are moving to Hangar 3 at Blackpool Airport

These random routes routinely involve flying over my house on Caryl Road from 7am each day and going on all day. My thoughts on this issue have been regularly printed in this paper, and I even spoke to our local MP who approached Bond, but to no avail.

However, for the last couple of weeks all has gone relatively quiet and I have noticed Bond actually using the flight path designated for such use. Marvellous, but why? The answer was in the Gazette on January 20 – ‘Helicopter firm in move to airport site’. It would appear that now there is more than one operator using the airport then some semblance of order must be instigated and proper routes used, not just wandering off over the skies of St Annes whenever the fancy takes.

I wish Helispeed every success with their new venture at Blackpool Airport, not just for the fact that it is revitalising the airport or that it is owned by a local chap, but also that I may be able to lie in past 7am occasionally and we are not pestered by low flying helicopters over our garden in summer.

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Mr D Measures

Caryl Road

St Annes

PLANNING

Housing vandalises our countryside

I am very concerned at over development. If this continues, all our farm land will be developed and we will have no land to grow our own food. We will then be held to ransom by other countries who value farming and producing food. The problem we have here in Britain is we have a greed culture and profit is all that matters. The long-term future of this country means nothing to them.

We need to change before it is too late, the so-called affordable homes are anything but affordable.

The developers are as much to blame for flooding as global warming, if at all global warming exists.

They fill in the drainage ditches farmers used to maintain and rip out hedgerows, damaging our environment and wildlife.

They rip out trees, a large oak tree can draw up to 50 or more gallons of water per day. Broad leaf trees use more water than coniferous trees.

Developers should be made to replace hedgerow instead of building walls. They should also plant broad leaf trees.

Are developers out of control environmental vandals?

David Speight

via email

HEALTH

The food inspectors must up their game

I was very concerned to read about the closure of the Shalimar Gardens. Council officers said “there has been concern about the state of the premises FOR YEARS” – surely this means that the inspection process is well under par.

The public has a right to expect a certain level of hygiene.It seems that the people in charge are not being as vigilant as we would hope for.

Neal Duffy

via email

HEALTH

A new and radical way to fund the NHS

I am prompted to write by the letter from Hugh Rogers in yesterday’s Gazette. Your correspondent called for a root and branch revision of health provision in the UK. I would like to do what he did not do...to imagine such a radical revision.

The biggest objection to VAT has always been that it is such a regressive tax. Idealists would have it scrapped overnight. However, that would be a mighty tall order.

Perhaps it would be better to think that it may be possible to justify a regressive tax in the right circumstances. Look at like this. Everybody potentially needs health care at some time. Trying to predict who, when, or how much care will be needed, is like trying to forecast a lottery result.

Most people would agree that it would be wiser to be insured, in case your number comes up and you then need a lot of expensive medical treatment. The higher the number of people in membership of the same insurance scheme, the further the risks are spread, and the more cost effective it will be to insure each individual. That’s the basic case for the NHS, which the overall majority of people find compelling.

My suggestion is let’s ring fence VAT. Let’s make it pay not just for the NHS, let’s make it cover the cost of provision of all public services. Let’s call it PBT – Public Benefits Tax. Aabolish the Council Tax and business rates, and let both be replaced by PBT.

As the number of people living in the UK rises, two other things will rise, the demand for public services and the revenues raised from PBT, precisely because it would be a regressive tax.

I understand it will be very easy for others to pick holes in my suggestion and that many will.

However, I am not about being prescriptive. Rather, I am about launching ideas that perhaps other people could develop.

People spend their money in whatever ways it suits them to. Generally, other people don’t have problems with that. Lots and lots of people are happy to have taxes taken from them to pay for the NHS. Exceptions include people like your correspondent. Because he disagrees with it, he thinks it ought to be stopped for everybody else.

He must be hoping that he will never have an accident, that he will never be ill and that one day, in his old age, he will expire peacefully in his sleep. They’re sweet dreams, for the enjoyment of the short-sighted. For everybody else we need a viable NHS, free at the point of need and adequately and fairly funded.

Michael McLoughlin

via email